I have to admit that this is one of my favorite past times; sitting in a cafe, reading or writing and watching the world go by. Of course its great if my wife or kids or a friend are with me, but alone is cool too. If I have a beach and waves to look at it makes the moment even more special.
I discovered this spot by chance after being dropped off at a highway intersection 8 miles shy of my destination of Marbella, Spain. Unprepared as usual on such outings, I thought it was more like three miles so I had no water and my cell phone battery was running out. With no cell phone I had no navigation system. What did I do? Like usual, and this is another of my favs, I just put one foot in front of the other, followed my nose, headed to the shore and hoped I would find the perfect cafe at the beach (with wi-fi, I have my iPad of course and it has 30% battery left).
I had to navigate my way through this funky “urbanizationes Marbella”. I guess it could be translated to residential district with vacation homes. Its an expansive collection of homes on a hillside overlooking the Med. The narrow, curvy roads and tiny single-family, Spanish style homes (this is Spain after all) are decorated with red-tiled roofs and white, stucco walls. The homes seem mostly to be occupied by retired English chaps. Most of them have little swimming pools, about large enough so you can take two strokes before you run into the edge.
Finally I found my way down to the beach, discovered this cafe (with wi-fi and an electric socket), and asked Google Maps how far the walk is to Marbella. Two hours and 9.9 km (do the math if your still not metric) straight down the beach. Cool, I can do that. I have all day and just hope my hip doesn’t start acting up on me.
My weakness for sitting in cafes with a book or a newspaper goes all the way back to my college days. Ah, how I loved sipping my vanilla java, reading the San Francisco Chronicle and smirking at Herb Caen’s column on life in The City. (Hm, wonder if he’s still around). Those Saturday mornings at the Upper Crust or Sam’s Cafe down on Main Street were priceless. No worries in the world and the buzz of newly discovered caffeine boosted me into a space of boundless creativity and optimism. Unfortunately, the results were modest and I was happy to finish the conclusion on my poly sci essay on America’s role as a counter revolutionary force in Central America Before the high wore off. Can you imagine, I actually wrote that essay on a piece of paper with a ball-point pen?
Certainly a few years have passed since then. Now I write by tapping on a piece of glass, my children have to glance down to look me in the eye and the wrinkles around my eyes remain after I finish smirking at the daily Doonesbury. Its not all gone to pot, though. I can still sit here in a cafe and enjoy my book and newspaper and watch the world go by